Still Human Still Here
STAR is part of Still Human Still Here, a coalition of more than 50 organisations that are campaigning for a fairer asylum system in which nobody is forced to live in poverty or destitution.
Together we are calling on the government to:
- Provide asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute with sufficient support so that they can meet their essential living needs until they are returned to their country of origin or are given permission to stay in the UK
- Provide free access to healthcare for all asylum seekers while they are in the UK
- Grant asylum seekers permission to work if their case has not been resolved within six months or they have been refused, but temporarily cannot be returned through no fault of their own
- Improve decision making and ensure that all those in need of protection receive it.
Current campaign action
On 16th July 2015, the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire MP announced that the Home Office will be introducing a flat rate of asylum support, and that from 10th August 2015 all people seeking asylum, regardless of age, will receive only £36.95 per week. This change will result in a 30% cut in the support given to children seeking refugee protection in the UK. You can stand up for the rights of refugee children in the UK by taking action today. Find out more
TAKE ACTION! Write to your MP today! We’ve got a model letter you can adapt. You can find out who your MP is at http://www.theyworkforyou.com, ask them to sign EDM 344 and to write to the Immigration Minister – James Brokenshire – to voice their concerns, and please let us know when you hear back from your MP
Why is destitution a problem in the UK?
Tens of thousands of people who have fled war, torture and political oppression are destitute or living in extreme poverty in Britain without enough to meet their essential living needs of food, clothing and health. This is a result of current policy which leaves asylum seekers with inadequate support or completely destitute, and prohibits them from working to support themselves. They have come to this country seeking safety, but are forced to rely on family, friends and charities to survive.
In recent years, thousands of refused asylum seekers have also been forced into destitution due to policies which leave them in state of limbo, without status and unable to return home.
The support available to all asylum seekers has decreased, meaning that even those who are supported by the state are living in poor housing and in extreme poverty – most on around just £5 day.
STAR Action Weeks against destitution
STAR has been supporting the Still Human Still Here campaign for many years, holding mass campaign actions and lobbying MPs.
STAR has also worked with the TUC and the Refugee Council to campaign for the right to work for asylum seekers as part of the Let Them Work campaign.
Here are just some of our highlights!
- February 2012: thousands of STARs nationwide spent a week living off £5 a day, sleeping rough on the streets to call on the UK government to end the poverty and destitution of asylum seekers. They also quizzed 1,000 members of the public on their attitudes to asylum seekers in the first ever destitution survey! Guess what? Most people were supportive of our demands to increase asylum support rates and to give asylum seekers the right to work. Check out this great video documenting the event and read this article to find out the results of our quiz!
- February 2011: hundreds of STAR members teamed up with Amnesty International UK to hold mass sleepouts to raise awareness of the destitution of refused asylum seekers and campaign for the right to work. In London, hundreds of STARs held slept out in the iconic Covent Garden, and in Manchester students were joined by MPs who bedded down for the night!
There are many ways that you and your STAR group can campaign to end destitution:
- Quiz the public – download this quiz and help to sort fact from fiction. Test members of the public on their knowledge of the support received by asylum seekers
- Live on £5 a day – try living on asylum support rates for day and use social media to document your experience
- E-mail your MP to ask them to support permission to work for asylum seekers
- Write to your MP and raise your concern about the tens of thousands of people who are being left without any support at all or forced to live on £35 a week. Not sure how to contact your MP? It’s easy! Just type in your postcode here.
Keep checking this page for the latest campaign actions from STAR.
The STAR Action Week 2012 Guide is full of top tips for fab campaign actions! You can download the full guide, or just the sections relevant to your STAR group.
Latest campaign news
Landmark court ruling says no to destitution, (July 2012)
Germany ordered to boost asylum seeker benefit, (July 2012)
120,000 children living in UK face destitution, says charity, (July 2012)
5,000 UK students take action in support of asylum seekers, (February 2012)
News regulations improve healthcare for asylum seekers, (July 2011)
For further information visit the Still Human Still Here website or have a look at these reports:
- I don’t feel human: Experiences of destitution among young refugees and migrants,
- Coping with Destitution: Survival and Livelihood Strategies of Refused Asylum Seekers Living in the UK, February 2011
- At the end of the line – Restoring the integrity of the UK’s asylum system, 2010
- British Red Cross, ‘Not gone, but forgotten’, June 2010
- The Children’s Society, ‘Destitution amongst asylum-seeking and refugee children’, May 2010
- Still Human Still Here, ‘At the end of the line’, February 2010
- The Asylum Support Partnership, May 2009
- Amnesty International, November 2006
- Refugee Action, October 2006